Dear friends and family of Marla–I am so sad to tell you the news of Marla’s death yesterday, Sunday, October 16, 2011, at 11:10am in her home in Las Vegas, Nevada. We will keep you posted on this site re: memorial services and more. I hope you’ll add comments to this post and share your stories about Marla with everyone. She was a great lady.
What can I say about my mom?
Many of you knew my mother very well. As a manager at The Pearl Factory, she worked for the company over 25 years ago, when it was still owned by Crater Enterprises. She was the first manager to open a Pearl Factory on the mainland–at Fisherman’s wharf in San Francisco, CA. She trained dozens and dozens of Pearl Factory sales persons over the years, and pioneered the opening of many new stores for them, including the Block at Orange, and the Texas Sea World store. In her time with the company she worked at Sea Life Park, International Market Place, Sea World San Diego, Sea World Texas, Fisherman’s Wharf, Bally’s Las Vegas, and more.
Those of you who knew my mom, know that she was a talker–she loved telling stories and hearing stories. She would talk your ear off if you let her, and I often heard her friends laughing and saying, “Ohhhh Marla!” after a good one. She loved to have a good time–a party, a lunch with friends, drinking wine at a barbecue. She never shied away from an adventure or a new beginning. She always helped out strangers with formal donations to charity and with a cup of coffee or a meal for a homeless person. In short, my mom was a good and decent person. She was a Christian and tried every day to turn things over to God. When she first had her stroke, I found dozens of Index Cards she used to keep in her uniform pocket at work. On one side of the card was the sales figure she needed for her daily minimum quota to hit 200%. On the other side of the card was a bible verse to encourage her during the day.
To her family, she was an example of survivor with grit and good humor. She was never afraid to reinvent herself when something wasn’t working out–and she never shied away from a challenge. For my mom, it was always, ok–how can I do this? How can I get this done? Sometimes, the rest of that question was “How can I get this done for so and so to help them out? She was a problem-solver by nature, and liked to look at many sides of an issue to come up with a good answer.
She was so very grateful to so many of you who helped her the last three years since her devastating stroke–even if sometimes she had trouble expressing that gratitude in the moment. Over the last 3 years her recovery was slow and painstaking. She tried to keep her good humor throughout it all. So many of you visited her at the hospital, picked her up and drove her places–to church, to the store–anything she needed. You were instrumental in helping her stay focused and working toward a more stable physical presence.
So many of you who DIDN’T know my mom were instrumental in getting her the medical care and attention she needed in the first months of her stroke–because you so generously donated the money she needed to keep paying her medical insurance premiums those first 12 months–and even afterwards, friends and family still sent occasional money and gifts and cards and flowers from time to time, just to let her know she was still on your mind. She appreciated this so so much.
Marla was somebody who did things her own way–she was an exciting and vibrant woman before her stroke, and those personality traits came back even stronger after her stroke. She could laugh at herself, which always put others at ease.
Her death in her sleep, while sudden and unexpected, was a gift. She had such a tough fight the last two years, and had recently fractured her hip at home–still refusing to move into any assisted living facility. She wanted to do it herself–she’d always been that kind of lady, and that’s how it was going to be.
I hope many of you will be able to come to her memorial service. We all knew so many different sides of Marla from so many different parts of her life. Since she chose to be cremated, we’re hoping to hold her memorial service over Veteran’s Day weekend, or the weekend prior, in Las Vegas at her home church. I’ll keep you posted via this blog, or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll reply with information as it comes.
Thank you so much. Please pass this information and site on to other Friends of Marla so that we can hear as many stories as possible about her.